Thursday, August 14, 2003

West Chester rejects vote on rec center

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WEST CHESTER TWP. - Trustees refused late Tuesday to hold an emergency vote to place a measure on the fall ballot for residents to decide whether the township needs a community recreation center.

That means that if there is a public vote on the center, the soonest it could be held is next spring. Filing deadline for the Nov. 4 election is Aug. 21. The trustees don't meet again until Aug. 26.

The denial came after an attorney representing petitioners for a vote - including a Fitworks Fitness Center - urged trustees to act immediately.

The attorney, Timothy Mara of downtown Cincinnati, said the petitioners have collected nearly 2,000 signatures supporting a public vote.

"There is a clear message to you to put this on the ballot yourselves," said Mara.

But Assistant Township Administrator Judith Carter advised trustees against the move, noting that plans still are preliminary.

Trustees voted April 8 to make the center an official township project. They also voted at that time to solicit bids for architects, engineers and a project manager.

Construction on the $20-$30-million building could start as soon as next year; it likely would go at Union Centre Boulevard and West Chester Road.

Last week, two trustees trekked to St. Louis to attend a seminar on community recreation centers. The trip cost the township $6,160, though Trustee Catherine Stoker says she will reimburse the township for her portion via a donation to the Voice of America Museum fund.

Late Tuesday, trustees scheduled an Aug. 27 work session to hear from construction manager finalists and to select one.


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